nep-pol New Economics Papers
on Positive Political Economics
Issue of 2021‒05‒03
five papers chosen by
Eugene Beaulieu
University of Calgary

  1. Downstream Effects of Voting on Turnout and Political Preferences: Long-Run Evidence from the UK By Jessen, Jonas; Kühnle, Daniel; Wagner, Markus
  2. Understanding the Origins of Populist Political Parties and the Role of External Shocks By Eugenio Levi; Isabelle Sin; Steven Stillman
  3. Political regime and COVID 19 death rate: ecient, biasing or simply dierent autocracies? By Cassan, Guilhem; Steenvoort, Milan Van
  4. Politically Feasible Reforms of Non-Linear Tax Systems By Bierbrauer, Felix J.; Boyer, Pierre C.; Peichl, Andreas
  5. Tecnical Note - Political Regimes and Economic Growth: A Time-series Analysis By Simon Accorsi

  1. By: Jessen, Jonas (DIW Berlin); Kühnle, Daniel (University of Duisburg-Essen); Wagner, Markus (University of Vienna)
    Abstract: Does voting have downstream consequences for turnout and political preferences? While research initially showed strong support for the notion that the experience of voting fosters civic habits and political engagement, recent work has cast doubt on how universal these patterns are. We contribute to this debate by studying the short- and long-term impact of earlier voting eligibility on subsequent turnout and political preferences using rich panel data from the UK. Exploiting the eligibility cut-off for national elections within a regression discontinuity design, we document a short-run increase in party identification, political interest and democratic norms for those able to vote earlier. However, these short-term effects quickly fade away and do not translate into permanent changes in turnout propensity or political preferences. Our results imply that the transformative effects of voting are short-lived, at most, in a setting with low institutional barriers to vote.
    Keywords: voting, turnout, downstream effects, political preferences, habit, persistence, regression discontinuity
    JEL: D01 D70 D72
    Date: 2021–04
  2. By: Eugenio Levi (Masaryk University); Isabelle Sin (Motu Economic and Public Policy Research); Steven Stillman (Free University of Bozen-Bolzano, CESifo, IZA)
    Abstract: We use electoral survey data to examine the impact that two large external shocks had on the development of New Zealand First (NZF), one of the oldest populist parties in the OECD. We find that structural reforms, which led to large negative impacts on particular locations, and immigration reforms, which led to large spatially concentrated increases in skilled migration, both increased voting for NZF in its first years of existence. These shocks led to changes in political attitudes and policy preferences and had persistent effects on voting for NZF even twenty years later. Overall, they play an important role in explaining the rise of populism in NZ. Understanding how these shocks led to the development of NZF is particularly relevant for thinking about how populism has been extending its reach in the 2010s.
    Keywords: populism; political parties; trade; immigration; shocks
    JEL: D72 P16 H40
    Date: 2021–04
  3. By: Cassan, Guilhem (University of Namur and CAGE); Steenvoort, Milan Van („Maastricht University)
    Abstract: The difference in COVID 19 death rates across political regimes has caught a lot of attention. The "effecient autocracy" view suggests that autocracies may be more effcient at putting in place policies that contain COVID 19 spread. On the other hand, the "biasing autocracy" view underlines that autocracies may be under reporting their COVID 19 data. We use fixed effect panel regression methods to discriminate between the two sides of the debate. Our results show that a third view may in fact be prevailing: once pre-determined characteristics of countries are accounted for, COVID 19 death rates equalize across political regimes. The difference in death rate across political regime seems therefore to be primarily due to omitted variable bias.
    Keywords: JEL Classification:
    Date: 2021
  4. By: Bierbrauer, Felix J. (University of Cologne); Boyer, Pierre C. (École Polytechnique); Peichl, Andreas (LMU Munich & ifo Institute)
    Abstract: We study reforms of non-linear income tax systems from a political economy perspective. We present a median voter theorem for monotonic tax reforms, reforms so that the change in the tax burden is a monotonic function of income. We also provide an empirical analysis of tax reforms, with a focus on the US. We show that past reforms have, by and large, been monotonic. We also show that support by the median voter was aligned with majority support in the population. Finally, we develop sufficient statistics that enable to test whether a given tax system admits a politically feasible reform.
    Keywords: non-linear income taxation; tax reforms; political economy; optimal taxation;
    JEL: C72 D72 D82 H21
    Date: 2020–04–15
  5. By: Simon Accorsi
    Abstract: This paper studies the relationship between democracy and economic growth with a time series approach. For a number of Latin America and European countries we estimate the long term effect of a democratic shock on the per capita GDP growth rate. The starting point is an Autoregressive Vector (VAR) acting as general unrestricted model (GUM). This general model is subjected through an automatic reduction process using a General to Specific (GETS) algorithm. This methodology ensures the weak exogeneity of the variables with respect of the parameters of interest and allows to investigate the strong exogeneity. Results show no clear patterns for the relation between political regime and economic performance, which is indicative of a country-specific relationship. In the Chilean case, a democratic shock takes 4 years to have a positive impact on the growth rate of GDP per capita. The maximum effect is reached after 10 years.
    Date: 2021–04

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